March 27, 2020
Dear FA Students and Families,
Earlier this week, I told you that we at FA would next be turning our attention to decisions regarding April break, May Term, and school year-end matters. We’ve now done so, and I write to provide you with adjusted calendar and program information.
First, regarding April vacation, currently scheduled for the week of April 20th: after careful consideration by FA’s faculty, staff, and administration, we’ve determined that we will have classes that week rather than observe the previously-scheduled, five-day break. We’re aware that MSAD#72 will be retaining the break but think that high school-aged students would not benefit. Assuming the high likelihood that social distancing mandates will still be in place at that time, we’ve agreed overwhelmingly that our students’ learning and health will be best served by continuity, activity, and structure.
Further, FA will not run May Term courses this year. Given the very nature of May Term course experiences (most are not adaptable to a remote learning format), the inevitable curricular curtailments caused by remote learning, and the uncertainty of an end date for current crisis measures, we regretfully must forego this experience-based study interval this year and look forward to its return in 2021.
The elimination of April break and May Term do allow for an earlier end to the 2019-20 school year. Thus, rather than releasing students for the summer on Friday, June 5th, the final day of our second semester will be Friday, May 29th.
Two things more: first, we do recognize the value of building in some downtime between now and the finish line, so the school is instituting two long weekends: there will be no classes held on Monday, April 20th (Patriots Day!), nor on Friday, May 8th.
Second, we love our seniors. Like their parents, we are pained on their behalf that so many upcoming, treasured milestones seem to be evaporating. I do not have details to share with you yet, though I ought to be able to do so within the next few days; for now, please be assured that we will hold a prom, and we will have Commencement. We will retain as many traditional elements of Commencement Week as we possibly can, because FA’s Class of 2020 deserves it. These celebrations will be delayed, but our graduates and their families will not be denied!
Having said so, I’d add that in the meantime, as a small gesture of high regard, we will allow seniors to complete their semesters a week early, on Friday, May 22nd.
Thank you for your attention to this update, and have a good weekend.
Erin P. Mayo
Head of School